Coimbra & Central Portugal

This holiday travels through the heartland of Portugal, based in Coimbra, the main city of central Portugal, with the placid Rio Mondego flowing through its centre. It is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe and the botanical gardens of the University of Coimbra are amongst the oldest in the world.

It is now a thriving modern city cocooning its ancient centre with a vibrant and lively atmosphere thanks to the local people and enthusiastic visitors from all over the world.

The tour takes place in some of the most interesting historical and natural places of Central Portugal.

Visiting Coimbra is like taking a journey through history. This ancient city was at the forefront of the Roman Empire more than 2000 years ago and declared the first capital of the new Kingdom of Portugal in the 12th century.

Coimbra is a treasure trove of delights just waiting to be discovered. Spend your days exploring the university quarter, admiring the architecture of the city’s great churches, visiting its many galleries, exploring Roman ruins or simply wondering through the streets, drinking in the unique atmosphere of this magical living museum.

With Coimbra as our centre we can visit the Serra do Buçaco that is both a mountain and a botanical garden. It has the most diverse collection of plants and trees in the hole of Portugal, with its origins going back to the 10th century. It is protected by the Pope himself; a papal decree from the 17th century threatens to excommunicate anyone who damages the forest and another decree (since rescinded) forbade the approach of women to it. It is also the site of a pivotal battle in the Peninsula wars in which the French were defeated by a joint force of Portuguese and English troops.

We will also visit the Serra da Lousã with a maze of tracks giving access to the traditional villages, the “Aldeias de Xisto” (slate villages) and discover the beautiful beaches and coastline at Figueira da Foz.

A real treat will be our visit to Conimbriga the best preserved Roman Ruins of Portugal.

Coimbra, Roman ruins in Conimbriga , Serra do Buçaco, Serra da Lousã, Figueira da Foz
A fantastic itinerary of walks, developed and perfected by local resident Portuguese tour leaders, very knowledgeable of the region.
The hospitality and warmth from the local population, whilst enjoying dining out at local restaurants every evening.

The tour includes

Accommodation vouchers in the chosen regime

Rent-a-car vouchers for duration of stay

Emergency contact numbers (24h hot line)

General information on your holiday, gastronomy and history of the region

Suggestions of local restaurants and places of interest to visit

Detailed walking maps and descriptions of the walks

Photo Gallery

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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine.

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image.

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